For the next several weeks, we (the 15th and Crawford Church of Christ) will be stating several Bible principles and asking the questions: Have you heard? Do you agree? Do you follow? And would you like to know more, giving everyone the opportunity to hear and believe (Romans 10:17). It is also an opportunity to learn (Acts 8:30-35). If you would like to write in, email any questions, or responses to be answered or published, feel free to do so.
Today's principle: How close are you to the cross?
There is a song we sing in worship, "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord." You have probably heard it or maybe sing it yourself. Whenever I hear it, it gives me goose bumps, or should I say it makes me tremble. It helps me grasp the reality of the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made, because I was not there. But on the other hand, there were many there on that day. Let's take a quick look at those who were there and see if we can identify with any of them.
First let's take a look at the curious. Executions used to be a spectator sport, and Jesus' crucifixion was no exception. This may have been the largest portion of those present. They recognized they were witnessing something, but just didn't quite understand what. This could very easily be us if we don't know the facts behind why Jesus had to die.
Second, there were the confused and misguided. (Matt. 27:39-44) And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. Many of these people days before were hailing His entry into Jerusalem. We, too, can be guilty of the same when we try to tempt God into doing the things we want and not His will. On that day, if their will be done, we would have no forgiveness of sin. The cross is something we cannot be confused about.
Third, there were the indifferent. Those that did not even bother to come. Many people considered it just another execution. Each and every Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Or, we can choose to treat it like any other day and go about our daily life. Indifference is a choice we cannot afford to make.
Fourth, were Jesus' uncommitted disciples. They wanted to be close enough to see what was happening to Jesus, but just far enough away to avoid being involved. This may shock you, but Peter was a perfect example. (Luke 22:54), "Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance." Many today follow Jesus, but they stop just short and never see the cross. Peter later made that final step as we see in John 21:18-19, "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow me."
This leads us to the last group of people at the cross, Jesus' devout followers. This group threw safety out the window along with their old lives to take a stand at the cross. They were close enough to have a conversation with our Lord. (John 19:25-27)
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour, that disciple took her to his own home.
How close are you to Jesus Christ? Have you stood at the cross? What has brought you there? Make Him your Lord, and Savior today.
If you would like to know more about the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, join us this coming Lord's day morning. Bible study is at 10 a.m. and worship at 10:50 a.m. For more information, or to visit, contact the Church of Christ, 1423 S. Crawford, Fort Scott, Kan., 66701.